Published by Hyperion on May 3rd 2016
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John "Smoke" Conlan is serving time for two murders but he wasn't the one who murdered his English teacher, and he never intended to kill the only other witness to the crime. A dangerous juvenile rehabilitation center in Denver, Colorado, known as the Y, is Smoke's new home and the only one he believes he deserves.
But, unlike his fellow inmates, Smoke is not in constant imprisonment. After a near death experience leaves him with the ability to shed his physical body at will, Smoke is able to travel freely outside the concrete walls of the Y, gathering information for himself and his fellow inmates while they're asleep in their beds. Convinced his future is only as bright as the fluorescent lights in his cell, Smoke doesn't care that the "threads" that bind his soul to his body are wearing thin-that one day he may not make it back in time. That is, until he meets Pink, a tough, resourceful girl who is sees him for who he truly is and wants to help him clear his name.
Now Smoke is on a journey to redemption he never thought possible. With Pink's help, Smoke may be able to reveal the true killer, but the closer they get to the truth, the more deadly their search becomes. The web of lies, deceit, and corruption that put Smoke behind bars is more tangled than they could have ever imagined. With both of their lives on the line, Smoke will have to decide how much he's willing to risk, and if he can envision a future worth fighting for.
Elle Cosimano became one of my favorite authors with her Nearly duology (possibly trilogy?) When I first heard about Holding Smoke, I was extremely excited and immediately added it to my TBR. I got my hands on an ARC and I read it immediately. While it was very different from her first books, I liked the new direction her writing took.
- Characters: Smoke stole my heart from the very start! He comes across as a bit of a bad boy but he has a heart of gold. His circumstances were beyond crappy. He was not a completely innocent man but he was not as guilty as you’d first think. He had quite a few layers to him and I never knew what side he was going to show next. I liked that he was able to keep me guessing. As for Pink, she was a bit of a mystery. She came across as this badass female but she also had quite a shy, scared side. She knew when she could handle herself and she knew when she needed help. She and Smoke weren’t always good for each other but they worked past that.
- Story: The story was both a pro and a con for me. It was so unique and so twisted that I was kept guessing until the very end. Not only could I not figure out who committed the crime Smoke was in jail for, I also couldn’t figure out the exact nature of the crime Smoke actually committed. He was good at hiding things and Elle Cosimano is good at twisting things so much, you’ll never see it coming.
- Romance: Smoke and Pink didn’t have a traditional romance. For one, Smoke wasn’t actually physically there for most of their interactions. With his ability, he came across as a ghost to Pink most of the time. Because of that, their relationship developed mentally way before it did physically and I really liked that. They weren’t exactly a cute couple (they got on each others nerves quite a bit) but they had their own charm.
- Story: Like I said, the story was both a pro and a con for me and it’s actually the only con I had with Holding Smoke. I felt a little confused at times. Smoke’s ability was very unique but also very odd. I didn’t understand it all the time and some of the scenes when he was separated from his body threw me off. I think it was how they were written and how Smoke looks at things when he’s like that. It wasn’t bad, by any means, it just took some getting used to.
Overall, Holding Smoke isn’t my favorite from Elle Cosimano but it held up to my expectations pretty well. Elle Cosimano is a name to know if you are a fan of YA suspense. If you were a fan of her Nearly books, check out Holding Smoke. I think you’ll find you enjoy it.
3 winners will receive copies of Holding Smoke. US only.
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